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Chapter 02 - Registration

Chapter 02 - Registration

6.0210 Entitlement to vote


A person who registers as required by law shall be entitled to vote at any election and to be listed upon the appropriate general register and district list. The designated election officer shall be responsible for qualified elector registration in the respective districts and the keeping of the general register and district lists.

History: 1977, PL 15-42 § 1; 2002, PL 27-31.

6.0215 Removal from register upon failure to vote-Reregistration


 
(a) The election officer shall, not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 60th day after every general election, remove the name of any qualified elector failing to vote at the election if the voter also failed to vote at the preceding election. For this purpose, “to vote” means the depositing of the ballot in the ballot box whether the ballot is blank or later rejected for any reason. In the case of absentee voting by mail by qualified electors, “to vote” means timely mailing the absentee ballot to the Chief Election Officer whether or not the ballot was counted. 
(b) Any qualified elector whose name has been removed from the register may, at any time prior to the closing of the register, as provided in section 6.0222, have his name restored in the register by presenting himself to the election officer and reregistering under section 6.0214, or by making application by mail or otherwise under procedures established by the Chief Election Officer. The election officer shall compare the signature with the signature of the qualified elector as previously registered, and if found by him not to be similar, he may require further proof. The names of all these qualified electors shall be reentered in the register. 
 
 
 
 
 

6.0201 Created—Appointment—Tenure.


(a) There is created a Board of Registration. The Board, which shall consist of 5 members, shall be appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and the term of office is 4 years.

(b) On election day, 1 member shall be designated to sit in the Manu’a Islands to hear and rule on all appeals.

6.0202 Compensation.


The members of the Board of Registration shall serve without compensation.

6.0203 Powers.


(a) The Board of Registration is given all of the powers and authority for the summoning and examining of witnesses and the maintenance of order, including the power to punish for contempt and award witness fees.

(b) Every member of the Board of Registration may administer oaths in all cases in which oaths are by law authorized.

6.0210 Entitlement to vote.


A person who registers as required by law shall be entitled to vote at any election and to be listed upon the appropriate general register and district list. The designated election officer shall be responsible for qualified elector registration in the respective districts and the keeping of the general register and district lists.

6.0211 Age requirement—Place of registering.


Every person who has reached the age of 18 years, or who will have reached that age prior to the date of the next election, and is otherwise qualified to register, may do so in the district in which he resides. No person may register or vote in any other district than that in which he resides except as provided in section 6.0220.

6.0212 Rules for determining residency.


In determining residency in the Territory, spouses may treat themselves separately from one another. The following rules shall determine residency for Territory and district purposes:

(a) The residency of a person is that place in which his habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has the intention to return.

(b) A person does not gain residency in any district into which he comes without the present intention of establishing his permanent dwelling place within that district.

(c) If a person resides with his family in one place, and does business in another, the former is his place of residence; but any person having a family, who establishes his dwelling place other than with his family, with the intention of remaining there shall be considered a resident where he has established his dwelling place.

(d) The mere intention to acquire a new residence without physical presence at that place does not establish residency, neither does mere physical presence without the con-current present intention to establish that place as his residence.

(e) A person does not gain or lose a residency solely by reason of his presence or absence while employed in the service of the United States or of this Territory, or while a student of an institution of learning, or while kept in an institution or asylum, or while confined in prison.

(f) The status of a person’s primary matai obligations is a factor in determining district residency. However, matai obligations alone may not sustain a finding of district residency absent other evidence which, in connection with evidence of matai obligations, is sufficient to sustain the intent of this section.

(g) A person loses his residence in this Territory if he votes in an election held elsewhere by absentee ballot or in person.

(h) The term of residence is computed by including the day on which the person’s residence commences and by excluding the day of election.

(i) In case of question, final determination of residence shall be made by the election officer subject to appeal to the board of registration under sections 6.0201 through 6.0203, 6.0225, and 6.0230 through 6.0233.

6.0213 General register.


All qualified electors shall be registered by district on the general district register. The register shall contain the information required by section 6.0214. The qualified elector’s name shall be maintained alphabetically or numerically in the register and be capable of segregation by representative district. The election officer shall keep the original or photographic copy of the affidavit of registration required by section 6.0214. The general register shall, at all times during business hours, be open to public inspection, and is a public record.

6.0214 Application to register.


(a) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), any person qualified to and desiring to register as a qualified elector in any district may present himself at any time during business hours to the election officer then and there to be examined under oath as to his qualifications as a qualified elector. All applicants desiring to register shall furnish the election officer with identification duly issued by a governmental agency, containing a photographic likeness of the applicant and shall make and subscribe to an application in the form of an affidavit. The affidavit must contain the following information:

(1) name;

(2) Social Security number, if any;

(3) date of birth;

(4) age;

(5) residence;

(6) place of current employment, if any;

(7) that the residence stated in the affidavit is not simply because of the person’s presence in the Territory but that the residence was acquired with the intent to make American Samoa the person’s legal residence with all the accompanying obligations therein; and

(8) that the person is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national.

(b) The applicant shall swear to the truth of the allegations in his application before the election officer who is authorized to administer oaths. Unless contested by a qualified elector, the election officer may accept as prima facie evidence the allegation of the applicant in information required in the affidavit in paragraph (a)(7). In any other case where the election officer shall so desire or believe it to be expedient, he may demand that the applicant furnish substantiating evidence to the allegations of his application.

(c) If the election officer is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to be registered as a voter, the applicant shall then affix his signature to the affidavit and the election officer shall affix his signature; or he shall enter “unable to sign” and the reason in the space for the applicant’s signature. A qualified elector having once been registered shall not be required to register again for any succeeding election, except as hereafter provided. The affidavits so approved or accepted by the election officer shall thereupon be numbered appropriately; filed by the election officer and kept in some convenient place so as to be open to public inspection and examination.

(d) Pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.), the foregoing subsections (a) through (c) do not apply to a uniformed services voter and overseas voter desiring to register as a qualified elector in elections for the office of Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Chief Election Officer shall establish absentee registration and voting procedures to afford maximum access to the polls by qualified absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters. Such procedures shall comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act and shall include at a minimum procedures by which absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters may request by mail, electronically, and by facsimile, voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications with respect to the election for office of Delegate and procedures which allow such voter to designate the preferred means of transmission whether by mail, electronically, or by facsimile.

(e) The foregoing subsections (a) through (c) do not apply to an absent uniformed services voter desiring to register as a qualified elector in elections for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and Representative to the American Samoa House of Representatives, provided the applicant’s home of record and legal domicile is American Samoa. The Chief Election Officer shall establish absentee registration and voting procedures to afford maximum access to the polls by qualified absent uniformed service voters and shall adopt such forms as necessary to implement the provisions of this act. Such forms shall, at a minimum, require the applicant to furnish the information called for on the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), supplemented with the applicant’s home of record/legal domicile, date of departure from American Samoa, and verification of applicant’s active duty military status. In addition to the foregoing, a spouse or dependent of a uniformed services member shall provide verification of their dependent status. The Chief Election Officer shall also establish procedures applicable to elections subsequent to the applicant’s initial registration.

6.0215 Removal from register upon failure to vote-Reregistration.


(a) The election officer shall, not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 60th day after every general election, remove the name of any qualified elector failing to vote at the election if the voter also failed to vote at the preceding election. For this purpose, “to vote” means the depositing of the ballot in the ballot box whether the ballot is blank or later rejected for any reason. In the case of absentee voting by mail by qualified electors, “to vote” means timely mailing the absentee ballot to the Chief Election Officer whether or not the ballot was counted.

(b) Any qualified elector whose name has been removed from the register may, at any time prior to the closing of the register, as provided in section 6.0222, have his name restored in the register by presenting himself to the election officer and reregistering under section 6.0214, or by making application by mail or otherwise under procedures established by the Chief Election Officer. The election officer shall compare the signature with the signature of the qualified elector as previously registered, and if found by him not to be similar, he may require further proof. The names of all these qualified electors shall be reentered in the register.

6.0216 Registration from one district to another.


A registered qualified elector who changes his residence from one district to another shall notify the election officer and change his registration to the proper district; provided, that no change of registration may be allowed or required after the close of registration for an election.

6.0217 Registration from one county to another.


Whenever any person who has registered as a qualified elector in any county moves to and desires to register in some other county, he shall apply to the election officer. There-upon, the election officer, if the person applying is legally qualified to register, shall accept the registration.

6.0218 Keeping register current-Transfer of registration.


(a) The election officer shall use all reliable and pertinent information to keep the general register up to date. The election officer may request information from, but is not limited to, the following sources:

(1) the office of the Attorney General for any change of name;

(2) courts for any changes of name, divorces, separations, or other changes affecting qualified elector status;

(3) the record sources for marriages, deaths, or other changes affecting qualified elector status;

(4) utility agencies concerning commencement or changes of services; and

(5) apartments and condominiums as to change of occupancy. In requesting the information the election officer shall give reasonable notice and time for furnishing the information.

(b) If the election officer has evidence indicating that a qualified elector’s registration should be transferred, then not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 60th day prior to the election the election officer shall notify the person by first-class mail and not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 3rd day thereafter publish in a newspaper or bulletin of general circulation notice of intent to transfer registration. Notice by mail shall be sent to the address shown on the current qualified elector list and any alleged new address. The notifications shall include:

(1) any evidence that the election officer may have indicating why a transfer or change should be made;

(2) the residence and district of the qualified elector according to current registration lists;

(3) the alleged new address and district;

(4) a reply form which shall contain a space for the qualified elector’s agreement or objection to the transfer and the reasons for the objection;

(5) notice that unless the completed form is returned not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 15th day after mailing, the qualified elector shall be subject to challenge at the polls under section 6.0223 on the basis of not being registered in the district where he resides.

(c) If no response is received by the clerk by 4:30 p.m. on the 15th day after mailing, a second notification shall be made not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 30th day prior to the election, by telephone or personal contact if feasible. A record shall be maintained of all the phone calls or attempted personal contacts noting the date, time, person calling, person called, and reply received.

(d) If, on the basis of the evidence available, the clerk has good reason to believe that the qualified elector does actually reside at some address other than the one carried on the registration list, the election officer shall transfer the voter to the new address. A list of those transferred, and the district to which they were moved, will be available at the old district on election day.

(e) A list of all qualified electors with questionable addresses who fail to respond to notification attempts of the election officer, but who have not been transferred, shall be posted at the district wherein he is registered on election day and shall be made available to the public not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 45th day prior to the election.

6.0219 Change of name-Transfer of registration.


(a) The Chief Election Officer shall take applications for change of name from qualified electors who have been married or who have had their names changed since the last election.

(b) A person whose residence has changed since the last election, and who the election officer has not transferred under section 6.0218 may apply for transfer of his registration to the district of his new residence. Requests to transfer registration to the new district shall be made to the Chief Election Officer no later than 4;30 p.m. on the 30th day prior to the election. Where a person was incorrectly placed on a list of qualified electors of a district in which he does not actually reside, he may correct his registration. No person may be prevented from voting at the election in the district in which his name appears on the qualified elector’s list due to a change of name, change of registration, or other correction made under this section. However any qualified elector registered in the wrong district who refuses to correct his registration may be challenged. Any person changing his name or transferring shall receive a copy of the change or transfer form.

6.0220 Changing register-Correction of errors.


(a) The election officer shall correct the register if at any time it is manifest to him that the name of a person registered has been accidentally misspelled, or that he has been misnamed therein, or that he has been accidentally registered under the wrong district.

(b) In any case where the election officer refuses to correct the register, the person may appeal to the Board of Registration and the registration shall be changed upon a written order of the Board of Registration setting forth the reasons for the change. The order shall be directed to the election officer or to the district officials of the election district where the qualified elector is entitled to vote if the register has been closed. The district officials shall thereupon correct the list of qualified electors furnished them according to the terms of the order, noting on the list the reasons for the correction, and shall send the original order to the election officer as soon as may be possible after the close of the polls. The election officer upon receipt of any order from the Board of registration or from the district officials, as the case may be, shall correct the register according to the terms of the order, making on the register a reference to the order.

6.0221 Changing register-Striking names of disqualified electors.


(a) Whenever the election officer receives from any recording or informing agency information of the death, loss of voting right of a person sentenced for felony, adjudication of insanity or feeblemindedness, loss of citizenship or national status, or any other disqualification to vote, of any person registered to vote, or who he has reason to believe may be registered to vote therein, he shall thereupon make an investigation as he considers necessary to prove or disprove the information, giving the person concerned, if available, notice and an opportunity to be heard. If after the investigation he finds that the person is dead, or non compos mentis, or has lost his voting rights, or has lost his citizen-ship or national status, or is disqualified for any other reason to vote, he shall remove the name of the person from the register.

(b) The election officer shall make and keep an index of all information furnished to him under any requirements of law concerning any of the matters in this section. Whenever any person applies to register as a qualified elector, the election officer shall, before registering the person, consult the index for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the person is in any manner disqualified to vote. Persons whose names are removed from the register of qualified electors under this section may appeal to the High Court and proceedings shall be had upon the appeal as in other appeals.

6.0222 Closing register-List of qualified electors.


At 4:30 p.m. on the 30th day prior to each election (but if that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, then at 4:30 p.m. on the first working day immediately following), the general register shall be closed to registration until after the election, subject to change only as provided under 6.0219, 6.0223, and 6.0224, and this section.

6.0223 Challenge by qualified electors-Grounds-Procedure.


(a) Challenging Prior to Election Day. Any registered qualified elector may, for any cause not previously decided by the Board of Registration or the High Court in respect to the same person, challenge the right of that person to be or to remain registered as a qualified elector in any district. The challenge shall be in writing, setting forth the grounds upon which it is based, and be signed by the person making the challenge. The challenge shall be delivered to the election officer who shall immediately serve notice of it on the person challenged. The election officer shall, as soon as possible, investigate and rule on the challenge.

(b) Challenging on Election Day. Any qualified elector rightfully in the polling place may challenge the right of any person, presenting himself to the district officials to vote. The challenge shall be on the grounds that the qualified elector is not the person he alleges himself to be or that the qualified elector is not entitled to vote in that district. No other or further challenge shall be allowed. The challenge shall be considered and decided immediately by the district officials and the ruling announced.

(c) If neither the challenger nor the challenged appeals the ruling of the election officer or the district officials, then the qualified elector shall either be allowed t o vote or be prevented from voting in accordance with the ruling. If an appeal is taken to the Board of Registration, the challenged shall be allowed to vote; provided, that his ballot is placed in a sealed envelope to be later counted or rejected in accordance with the ruling on appeal. The Chief Election Officer shall adopt rules in accordance with 4.1001 et seq., to safeguard the secrecy of the challenge's ballot.

(d) Notwithstanding 6.0902 and 6.0903, the exclusive means of challenging an elector’s qualifications subsequent to the elector casting his ballot are as follows:

(1) The challenge must be brought by filing a complaint in the Appellate Division of the High Court, without the necessity of prior review by the Board of Registration.

(2) The complaint must be filed in accordance with the procedural requirements of 6.0902 and 6.0903, and may be filed only by those persons authorized under 6.0902.

(3) It is a condition of any relief granted under this subsection that the complaining party plead and prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the facts alleged in support of the complaint were not known to him, and could not with due diligence have been discovered, prior to the challenged elector casting his ballot.

6.0224 Appeal to challenge ruling-Failure of election officer to act.


(a) In cases where the election officer or the district officials ruled on a challenge or the election officer refuses to register an applicant, or, refuses to change the register under section 6.0220, the person ruled against may appeal from the ruling to the Board of Registration.

(b) The Board of Registration shall sit on election day. The Board shall also sit at other times as the election officer determines to hear appeals, provided there are any, from the qualified electors registered. The board shall continue its sitting until all appeals have been heard.

(c) Reasonable notices of the sitting of the Board shall be given by publication in any newspaper or bulletin of general circulation or other news media. If the appeal is sustained, the Board shall immediately certify that finding to the election officer who shall thereupon alter the register to correspond to the findings of the Board, and when necessary, the election officer shall notify the district officials of the change in the register.

6.0225 Records of proceedings.


The Board of Registration shall keep books of record in which full and detailed minutes shall be preserved of all its proceedings. The minutes shall be kept from day to day, and shall contain:

(1) the date and place of the meeting;

(2) the names of the members of the Board present;

(3) the name of each person to whom an oath is administered, and, if an examination is held, the names of the witnesses and the substance of the answers of the applicant and of the witnesses;

(4) the name of any person challenging the right of any applicant to register, the grounds of challenge, the name of the person challenged, and the decision rendered thereon; and

(5) all other matters of detail which are likely to have a bearing upon any question concerning the action of the Board or of any person appearing before it.

6.0230 Appeal from Board to High Court.


Any affected person or any of the election officials may, not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 10th day after the decision of the Board of Registration, appeal directly to the Appel-late Division of the High Court in the manner provided by law for civil appeals to the High Court.

6.0231 Hearing-Decision final.


When the appeal is perfected, the High Court shall hear the matter as soon thereafter as may be reasonable. The determination by the court is final.

6.0232 Notice of decision-Correcting register.


Immediately upon rendering a decision upon any appeal, the High Court shall notify the Board of Registration, and, if the decision reverses the decision of the Board, the Board shall immediately order the register to be corrected to conform with the decision.

6.0233 Status pending appeal.


In case of an appeal from a decision of the Board of Registration, the name of the person shall be placed or remain upon the register pending the decision of the High Court concerning it. If the person so registered votes at any election before a decision of the court has been made and acted upon, the ballot of that voter shall be handled in accordance with subsection (c) of 6.0223.